dragovianknight: a woman spans fire filled with fanciful shapes from one hand to the other (Writing - Telling Tales by the Fire)
I much prefer worlds where the heroes are heroic, rather than being people I would like to light on fire (GRRM, I'm looking at you and your ilk).

But, at the same time, I found the first book in Luminous: A Noblebright Fantasy Box Set to be a little...well, irritating. On the up side, the box set is so long that I literally read the entire first book (CJ Brightley's "The Lord of Dreams") in the sample I downloaded. On the down side, if it weren't for the fact that the box set is the same price as Sunbolt, which is one of the books included and which I already planned to buy, I probably wouldn't buy it based off the sample.

Part of this is the book's "the protagonist doesn't know what's going on, therefore the reader is equally confused" anti-worldbuilding. Part of it is that I don't like the protagonist all that much, nor do I like the sledgehammer approach toward treating perfectly normal human reactions as flaws to Feel Guilty about. This ties in to a dislike of the apparent belief that being Heroic involves sucking it up and taking it without ill thought when people are utter dicks to you.

Being a bitter and cranky dragon, it's possible I am not the intended audience of the opening book; it's not a bad book, at all. I simply have fundamental differences with it's premise. Considering the author is also the person who put the set together, this might bode ill for my enjoyment of the remaining books*. But hey, Sunbolt is in this set, as are eight other books, and I would frankly rather spend my money supporting authors who are trying to write Heroes (even when those Heroes cross the line into Lawful Preachy), than whatever the latest grimdark antihero clone is. So Luminous is still on my buy list.

*Also for my chances of selling to any of her noblebright anthologies.
dragovianknight: closeup of a green dragon (Default)
And therefore, I am always annoyed when I pick up an indie book that looks good, has an interesting premise, and then turns out to be shallow, half-developed, and powered entirely by the idiot ball.

This applies to YA just as much as books allegedly aimed at adults. Thus was I really fucking disappointed in A Quest of Heroes (Amazon link), which I am pretty sure I picked up because it was a) free and b) the title seems like a perfectly good phrase for a group of adventurers, amirite? A quest of heroes, a murder of crows, a pack of wolves...

Sadly, the book was not nearly so clever as that, and the worldbuilding was tissue thin. And I don't want to say the main character is dumb as a box of hammers, but his awareness of the world around him extends for about six inches. This might be accurate for a fourteen year old, but it makes for a damn boring MC.

Most importantly, the ways the book is bad are very much self-absorbed Mary Sue-fic bad. Not because the MC is practically perfect in every way, but because the world shapes itself around him. You can tell the villains because they Instahate Our Hero Thor (don't name your hero Thor, people, unless your hero is Thor). The designated Good People equally Instalove him. He is deeply confused why he is hated! And why he is liked! In fact, Thor spends a great deal of the book clueless, conveniently has magic powers as the plot demands (but the Mysterious Magic Man won't explain jack shit, he just shows up to make Mysterious Pronouncements), receives the gift of a magic falcon maybe-familiar from the King roughly five minutes after showing up at the capitol, finds a probably-magic white leopard on a hunt, etc etc.
In which I complain at length. )
In short, Thor doesn't earn things so much as he bumbles his way into being in the right place at the right time, meeting the right people, and then managing to blow it all through sheer lack of sense. The people who oppose him oppose him for no good reason. The Evil Gay Trope offends me less than the sheer lack of sense or intelligence demonstrated by LITERALLY EVERYONE. Declaring your book YA - and I question that, given the whole "getting Thor drunk and buying him a whore" part - doesn't absolve you from basic logic and sensible character development.

The book ended on a cliffhanger, but frankly, I choose to believe the end of book 1 is the end of Thor's story. I'm certainly not going to pay money for the rest.
dragovianknight: closeup of a green dragon (Default)
I'm not generally a big fan of the Jane Austen fanfic genre that's emerged since Pride and Prejudice and Zombies came out, but this...THIS I MUST OWN. Heartstone by Elle Katharine White. (Amazon link)
dragovianknight: a woman spans fire filled with fanciful shapes from one hand to the other (Writing - Telling Tales by the Fire)
Today, based on someone gushing about it in one of my writers' forums, I went to pick up Rachel Aaron's 2k to 10k: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love. As it turns out (thank you, Amazon memory), I have owned this book for almost two years.

Much like with the Libbie Hawker blurb book, my failure to remember this book was a sign.
Again, this gets long )

So, another writing advice book that just doesn't work for me. It isn't wildly at odds with how my brain works, and honestly, a lot of it resonates with how I write fanfiction. But by the 50% mark, it just hadn't given me anything concrete or enlightening enough to keep me reading for the rest of her advice.
dragovianknight: a woman spans fire filled with fanciful shapes from one hand to the other (Writing - Telling Tales by the Fire)
Gaius Valens dreams of driving the Saxons from Britannia. The Empire and her legions have abandoned the island, leaving the inhabitants surrounded by enemies. Now, on an island already being overrun by Saxon invaders, a darker threat emerges.

That's part of the blurb for a new series I started reading last week (I needed a break from frantically writing porn for an anthology). This is alternate history, and what sold me was this line:

Because they have one crucial thing that the alchemists and Saxon invaders don't—the long lost Imperial airship, the Octavian.

Now, I am not a HUGE alternate history person, and my first choice isn't the late 5th century. But I am big on airships, so I had to pick up the first book. The writing style is perfect for a quick, easy read. I don't know enough about this particular point in history to nitpick details, but I can say the author sells me on the world he's built. I love the characters, who have a chemistry that a lot of writers don't pull off and get some entertaining banter between them. There are some unfortunate issues with typos, but I forgave them because I was having so much fun with the story, which involves a lot of good old fashioned man-versus-monster action.

There are four books so far, with a fifth on the way (though I don't know when). Soon, I hope; I'm looking forward to continuing my adventure with Captain Valens and his crew. The series is in Kindle Unlimited and therefore only available on Amazon, and the books so far are:

Book One: A Taste of Alchemy
Book Two: The Monster
Book Three: Clipped Wings
Book Four: The Saxon Coin
dragovianknight: closeup of a green dragon (Default)
...that my beloved [personal profile] darthneko is unfamiliar with the novels of Martha Wells, and only learned of her because of the upcoming Murderbot Diaries.

In case any of the rest of you are in similar straits, this is Martha Wells' Amazon page. I will personally vouch for Wheel of the Infinite, The Cloud Roads (and subsequent Raksura books), and City of Bones (which is probably my favorite).

If only...

Jul. 26th, 2014 12:21 am
dragovianknight: closeup of a green dragon (Default)
...the mere act of installing Scrivener and Liquid Story Binder would inspire me to actually WRITE.

(I have the itchy creative brain/no inspiration combo that often precedes me flinging myself bodily into a new fandom. Unfortunately, there's not one damn thing I'm feeling fannish about right this minute, so instead I will go farm leather and crab meat along the Pandaren coastline.)

Edit: And then I was ridiculously pleased to finally track down, after YEARS of not being able to remember anything about the title and author, and remembering only the most sketchy details of plot, Godsfire (This was the cover it had when I read it. I remembered said cover completely wrong, except for the part where there were cats. Now I wonder where the hell my mental image of a vaguely Egyptian-esque cat lady reclining on a throne came from.)
dragovianknight: closeup of a green dragon (ATLA - Kyoshi Warriors - The Fangirls)
And this book right here is the reason why.

(Yes, I totally blew off NaNo last night to stay up until the wee hours reading a book about zombies. Also, OMG LAST CHAPTER LAST CHAPTER LAST CHAPTER OMFG! BOOK THREE CANNOT GET HERE SOON ENOUGH!)
dragovianknight: closeup of a green dragon (Stepsister - Mermaid's Madness animated)
You can see it here.

And that layout, plus knowing this is the last book in the series, has me...worried. Also, I think Talia's pose is too passive (though I like her outfit), and Danielle looks like she's one chainmail bikini away from starring on the cover of a "Thud and Blunder" style fantasy novel.
dragovianknight: closeup of a green dragon (Default)
So I ordered myself Golden: A Retelling of "Rapunzel" ,The Crimson Thread: A Retelling of "Rumpelstiltskin" , and Wild Orchid: A Retelling of "The Ballad of Mulan", all from the Once Upon a Time series of YA novels. I just hope they don't suck. (I mean, if Golden sucks I will just re-read Zel, which is an awesome version of Rapunzel, and I don't have any huge investment in Rumpelstiltskin, so mostly I am hoping that Wild Orchid will not suck.)
dragovianknight: closeup of a green dragon (DQ8 - Squee)
This is a rare thing, because aside from [livejournal.com profile] marthawells, who always brings the awesome (and you should totally buy her latest Stargate: Atlantis tie-in novel, so they'll ask her to write more of them), most professionally published books just don't give me what I want to read.

However, [livejournal.com profile] coffeeem is currently posting a Q&A about her new book, Territory, which is due out next month in hardcover, and which I'm pre-ordering in hardcover (I never buy hardcovers because they take up room), and which I really, really want OMGRIGHTTHISSECONDYESNOWPLEASE!

And then Amazon evilly helpfully pointed out that Dragonhaven, a new Robin McKinley YA novel, is coming out in September. I've always liked her young adult stuff. Fucking Amazon.

A bit of clicking also led me to these Once Upon a Time fairytale retelling books, but I remain strong. Even against The Rose Bride, which I ought to buy for the title alone (but it says it's a retelling of "The White Bride and the Black Bride", which I have never heard of, and also, I suspect it is a romance, so doubly wary). Someday when I have money to blow just because, though, I will probably get it. Yes, just for the title. Because I'm a dork. :D

ETA: Okay, this and this I might have to check out. And this. Hmm, all on the 4-for-3 promotion, too. Naturally, The Rose Bride isn't (stupid Amazon), and also isn't listed as young adult (that would be a point in its favor, I like YA novels, shut up).

ETA2: Aha! Here is my fourth book!

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